I don’t know about you but I had little to no sex education at school. There was one P.S.H.E lesson that I missed that my friends told me involved putting a condom on a carrot but that’s about as far as it went. Growing up I was only made aware of any sort of helpful information on sex from friends and things I read in magazines and the one time my form tutor in year 9 was asked, “Miss, can you get pregnant if you’re on top?” (which, disclaimer, yes of course you can).
It might be fairly standard knowledge for many of us, but not using a condom opens both men and women up to more STI’s. Being on the pill or the implant, injection etc works as a pregnancy preventative, but does not protect you from any STI’s. Although contracting an STI can feel embarrassing, it really doesn’t need to be, you just need to make sure that you treat it. Nowadays, you can even get genital warts STI treatment online, so if you’re anxious to go into a pharmacy to get yourself the treatment that you need to clear your STI, then this is a more anonymous and relaxed way to get access to it.
According to a study shared on The Indy 100, the average age for someone to lose their virginity is 17, but in a survey carried out by The Observer, they noted that 23% of people in the UK lost their virginity between the ages of 14 and 15. I won’t fill you all in on my sexual history, but I will say that at, what I consider to be, a fairly young age, I had to take the morning after pill due to a split condom and no other forms of contraception being used(the pill etc). Even if you are taking the pill, you could still find yourself falling pregnant if you’re not taking it correctly(at the same time each day) or if you are taking other medications for a period of time, such as antibiotics, as this can alter the effects of the hormonal contraception. I feel that throughout my high school education I was not made aware of these things and I have even had doctors appointments before where I have been prescribed antibiotics and not warned about the effects it can have on hormonal contraception.
Shying Away From The Conversation
I get it, I really do. It’s awkward enough when you’re watching Love Actually with your parents when the sex scenes come on, so why oh why would a teenager want to talk to their parents about their own sex lives?! Well, believe it or not kids, your parents have had sex themselves before too! I think it’s really important to have an open relationship with our children in order to educate them correctly on sex education, especially in a day and age where the internet is always at our fingertips, people can come across misleading and confusing information when it comes to sex, so if you’re a parent reading this and your son or daughter is “coming of age” maybe try and look into ways that you can start up the sex ed conversation past the lines of “the stalk brings a baby.” If neither you or your child’s teachers are really giving out accurate information on sex, then how can we expect our children to understand the precautionary measures they should be taking?
How do you think sex education could be improved?